Septic haulers face fee increase
Sewer plant considers ban on grease, other dumping
February 14, 2006
Septic waste haulers and restaurant owners will have the chance to comment before the Craig City Council makes a decision that could affect their budgets and the way they do business.
At its meeting Tuesday the council examined a problem that wreaks havoc at the wastewater plant — grease disposal.
There really is no good way to handle grease, wastewater treatment plant manager Mike Frazier said, which is why more than half the wastewater treatment plants in the state don’t accept it.
Craig’s may be the next to refuse.
Although there is no way to track the origin of grease that’s flushed down a sink and into the city’s sewer system, there is a way to manage bulk dumping. City staff members are recommending the council consider prohibiting septic haulers, who also drain the city’s largest grease traps, mostly at restaurants, from disposing of grease at the wastewater treatment plant.
Another option, Frazier said, is to charge more for dumping.
“Like anything else, if it costs more to handle, you increase the prices,” Councilor Tom Gilchrist said.
There are almost no options for disposing of grease. The Moffat County Landfill will accept it, but requires that it be dried.
Wastewater treatment plants in neighboring communities already have prohibited bulk grease disposal, which means carriers are coming to Craig to dump.
“That’s why we’re having such a problem with grease,” Public Works Director Bill Earley said. “We’re a valleywide dump site. The problem is we’re not equipped to deal with it.”
Septic haulers have proposed that the city charge according to the waste instead of increasing the dumping rate uniformly.
“If they’re willing to pay for the test to say it’s reduced-strength sewage, we’d be willing to accept a lower price, but the testing is so expensive that it’s not cost efficient,” Earley said.
Enforcing a ban on grease is difficult, Earley said. With three to four loads a day going into the sewer plant, it would be difficult to track which was in violation, he said.
Another option is refusing out-of-town deliveries or charging them a higher rate.
“It’s our sewer plant we’re trying to maintain,” Mayor Don Jones said.
Staff members are proposing to increase fees to septic haulers from 2.5 cents per gallon to 4 cents a gallon. It would be the first fee increase to septic haulers in 13 years.
Revenue from septage haulers accounts for $21,182 a year, a minor contribution to a $1 million annual budget, Earley said.
The council will continue discussing solutions at its Feb. 28 meeting, after staff collects more data and businesses have time to comment. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers of Craig City Hall.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.